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Editor’s Note & potential trigger warning: Our #StopFitspiration column aims to shine light on harmful messages from the fitness industry while also offering information, tips, and support for balanced, body-positive fitness. Due to the nature of this column, there may be discussion of body shaming, weightloss, and dieting. If this content may be triggering, we recommend not reading these articles, and instead finding support on our Eating Disorder Recovery or General Mental Health columns.
Originally published at vibrantme.org on October 23, 2017. Republished with permission. Get your blog featured!
So that title may be misleading…or not. Some people would probably consider the body that I currently have to be ‘fat’. Most of the time I beg to differ, but part of me also embraces this term that has scared the fbjdsgjdsgjdks out of me for the majority of my life.
Since becoming involved in the fitness industry 5 years ago (I currently work as a Personal Trainer), I have had many ups and downs with my own body image and the way I think I should portray myself as a ‘motivator’.
If you’ve read the ‘About Me’ section of my website, you’ll know that I’ve dealt with Eating Disorders for almost half my life (sidenote: this is terrifying to admit to myself).
Disordered eating and negative body image is a part of who I am, and most likely always will be. I tend to use food a means to control my inner world, especially when the world around me seems increasingly frightening.
I also know from experience and interactions with clients, friends, and complete strangers that this way of coping is by no means uncommon in our society.
Food has become a major method of hiding or stuffing our feelings.
If you’ve ever binged or restricted you know this method does not work for long.
Another layer is added to this issue when you work in an industry that prides itself on the idea that having a certain body type means you have your sh*t together.
Of course, I agree that being healthy should be a requirement for leading others on a wellness path.
However, I also think ‘healthy’ does not look the same for each individual and is much too simplified in the fitness industry at large.
It makes sense that those who are interested in fitness like to go to extremes (we are competitive by nature for the most part) but I also believe this makes fitness seem really unachievable for the everyday person. Quick results to gain unachievable bodies becomes the promise. And this is exactly the mindset I hope to help shift.
A nourishing, non-restrictive, vibrant and fulfilling lifestyle should be the goal, regardless of what it looks like on the outside.
“Fat” as a dirty word needs to change.
I have come to truly embrace the body I have because it allows me to move and think and play and experience life. I am not simply a vessel to be admired because I look aesthetically pleasing, and I no longer want that
I hope that our society can begin to view Mental Health as a necessary precursor to physical health and that the fitness industry can stop glorifying disordered eating and worshipping people only for their body types.
This change can only come from each of us making the choice to accept who we are, regardless of our ‘shameful’ habits or the ways that our bodies look.
We need to realize that we are capable of much more than being obsessed with our looks or drowning ourselves in food and self-hatred.
Kirsten is a Certified Personal Trainer and Bootcamp Instructor who works mainly with a Plus-Size clientele. She is very passionate about guiding people to empower themselves through mindful movement and connection, to their bodies, to others, and to the world.
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